Poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA) hydrogel with high water content is the candidate material for artificial cartilage. PVA hydrogels prepared by freeze-thawing (FT) method (PVA-FT gel), cast-drying (CD) method (PVA-CD gel) and hybrid method of FT and CD (PVA-hybrid gel) were developed and their friction and wear behaviors were evaluated. Sliding pairs of a cobalt-chromium-molybdenum alloy or alumina ceramic ball and a PVA hydrogel plate were tested in reciprocating friction test. Ultra-pure water and simulated synovial fluid were used as lubricants for friction test. PVA-FT gel showed high friction and severe wear in ultra-pure water. Friction coefficient of PVA-CD gel in ultra-pure water was quite low such as about 0.005, but scratches were observed on the surface of PVA-CD gel. PVA-hybrid gel lubricated in ultra-pure water showed low friction such as 0.004, and intact surface structure of PVA-hybrid gel remained after friction test. Simulated synovial fluid contributed to the improvement of lubrication property of all PVA hydrogels and PVA-hybrid gel showed the lowest friction coefficient such as 0.003 and minimum wear. These results indicated that PVA-hybrid gel has a great potential as the material for artificial joint.